Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The New Faces Of The Washington Redskins In 2014: Coaches Edition

The new faces of the Redskins front office General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Jay Gruden
Via Hollywoodlife.com

Hail Redskins Nation!!!! Times flying by and it's less then two weeks until training camp. I know that you fans are as excited as I am to get the 2014 season underway but before we can do that we have training camp and preseason games. Not to mention cutting this 90 man roster down to the best 53 football players to help this team win. This offseason we've had some additions and subtractions to the Redskins Nation. We all know about the firing of Mike Shanahan, most of his staff and the hiring of Jay Gruden, so I'll skip all of that other nonsense. Now the buck stops with Jay Gruden as the Head Coach. With that being said I believe three new members of the coaching staff are just as important and key to the Redskins success going forward. In my humble opinion Brain Baker the Outside Linebackers Coach is one of if not the most influential hire. The next important new coach  to me on the staff is Kirk Olivadotti Inside Linebackers Coach who has been a part of the Redskins Coaching Staff previously from 2000 to 2010 in many different defensive capacities. Last but most certainly not least there's Ben Kotwica Special Teams Coordinator who will bring much needed discipline (from his Army background) to this unit that desperately needed it last season. Let's learn a little about these new coaches:

Brian Baker Outside Linebackers Coach
Via Redskins.com
  Brian Baker is the Outside Linebackers Coach and comes with over 30 years of defensive coaching experience in the NFL and the college ranks. He has an impressive resume of pro bowl talent that he helped develop in his very detailed and effective coaching career.  Coach Baker has had stops in St.Louis, Carolina, Detroit and Minnesota and working with talents like Julius Peppers, Robert Porcher, DeMarcus Ware, and Kevin Williams which all made the pro bowl under his direction. Last season Coach Baker was the OLB's coach for the Cleveland Browns and helped their defense rank third in the AFC and ninth in total defense in the entire NFL. With Coach Baker's attention to detail and the ability to develop already talented players into play makers and game changers. I can only hope to see Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan become the havoc wrecking duo that the Redskins and fans alike have been waiting for. With all the new techniques and pass rushing moves that this veteran coach can teach this young talented group and the fact that Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett says he will be more aggressive using the OLB position. I would not be surprised by a bust out season of a 20 plus sack campaign from our starting OLB's but a lot of things will have to work in the teams favor for that to happen but it is possible. Now its not just gonna be up to Coach Baker to teach these players but they have to execute on the field and with his track record I don't see that being an issue as long as the defense stays generally healthy.

Kirk Olividatti Inside Linebackers Coach
Via Redskins.com

  The Inside Linebackers Coach is Kirk Olividatti who also has a well rounded resume of college and NFL defensive coaching experience in his 14 years. Now some of Redskins Nation may remember Coach Olividatti started his NFL coaching career here in 2000 as a Defensive Quality Control/ Defensive Backs Assistant and worked his way up to Defensive Assistant working directly under the DC in 2011. Through his time here coaching he at one point or another was a coach for the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs that ranked in the top 10 in defense and gave up the the fourth fewest yards in the NFC and seventh in the NFL throughout those seasons. With those nice stats and over a 10 year coaching tenure here he belongs to an impressive coaching club with this team called the Redskins Honor Roll of Assistant Coaches. Other notable coaches on this distinguished list are: Joe Bugel, Richie Petitbon, Larry Peccatiello, and Wayne Sevier. Coach Olividatti left here in 2011 to go the University of Georgia and coach the inside linebackers. He had success there also by helping develop talented college ILB's into NFL caliber talent such as Jarvis Jones, Akeem Dent, and Alec Olgetree. With Keenan Robinson coming off back to back injury shorten seasons, the steady but under achieving Perry Riley slated as the starters hopefully helps turn these two players into a steady and well rounded players that this team needs to be successful. With more talented depth at the ILB position he will have his hands full to develop this young linebacker corps into improved unit that can make an impact each and every game.

Ben Kotiwica Special Teams Coordinator
Via Redskins.com
 Now all of Redskins Nation knows how bad the special teams were in 2013, not only in coverage, in return teams and starting field position so basically the entire unit. With that being said welcome the new Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica. He doesn't have quite the long coaching tenure as the previous two coaches but what he lacks in coaching experience he makes up for it in life experience. Coach Kotwica has a Army background flying helicopters for more then 1000 combat hours in Iraqi Freedom II. His military background should help add discipline to a unit that desperately needs it. On his resume he has two years as Quality Control with the New York Jets and just completed his first full season as the Special Teams Coach with the Jets but instead of re-signing with the Jets he decided to come to D.C to help try and improve a struggling unit of a year ago. The Jets totaled 10 return touchdowns combined on special teams during his time there which was tied for second in the NFL during that time. Unfortunately the Redskins gave up touchdowns on special teams but didn't get to the end zone at all in 2014. hopefully Coach can change that for the better. The team already helped Coach Kotwica out by drafting players that are special teams standouts and getting some key free agent with the same reputation in the NFL. With the quality additions of Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton this unit should be much improved but as we all know after last season there is no where to go but up. An improved emphasis is already been seen at OTA's and Mini Camp with position coaches also helping with the limited special teams practice time. Coach Kotwica says that by having the position coaches such as WR's Coach Ike Hilliard,  DB's Coach Raheem Morris and ILBs Coach Kirk Olividatti it helps drive the point home about how important special teams are. The returners will be decided during training camp and should be a heated battle between Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, Andre Roberts and the rehabbing Richard Crawford. Hopefully one of these players can help spark a unit that could use all the help it can get.

Jay Gruden Head Coach
Via Redskins.com

   Now last but definitely not least the new Head Coach of the Washington Redskins Jay Gruden. This Ex -Quarterback is a breathe of fresh air in Redskins Park and looks to have formed great relationships with his players and coaches so far. He doesn't have your typical NFL coaching background but him being a ex-QB I believe he will help the team and our young dynamic quarterback Robert Griffin III make that  next step to becoming a elite team and QB in this league.

 He has been around football for basically all of his life and has had ups and downs like many in this game. Most fans know his more famous brother, Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden but most don't know that Jay worked on those staffs in Tampa Bay where Jon won his title. He served as an assistant to the Offensive Coordinator, assisted on play calling, player development, and game plans for Sundays games.

This is Jay's first head coaching job in the NFL but he was a head coach in the United Football League where he started out as a Offensive Coordinator under then Head Coach Jim Haslett. Once Haslett left to come here to be the Defensive Coordinator, Jay Gruden was named the head coach and a year later he was hired to be the OC for the Cincinnati Bengals. Now the classic misconception is that Gruden is a pass happy play caller and doesn't stick with the run but if you check his three seasons in Cincinnati they were top 10 in rushing attempts all three seasons. I do expect to see an increase in pass attempts but still expect a balanced attack.

The Redskins (after a active off season) have bolstered their receiving core with the BIG acquisition of gamebreaker DeSean Jackson and the versatile former Arizona Cardinals WR Andre Roberts to play primarily in the slot. This offense has the potential to be a top 10 offensive group but the offensive line will be key and Jay has already made some adjustments there. I believe Jay will add diversity and a killer instinct to this talented but inconsistent offensive group. The thing that stands out to me about this offense is that for the first time in a long time the offense will be able to dictate to the defense how the game is gonna be played instead of the defense dictating that to the Redskins. For example if the defense puts eight defenders in the box to stop the run then the passing attack will remedy that. If the defense goes two high safeties to stop the passing game then Alfred Morris will pound them on the ground. If they go single high safety and try to bracket the outside WR's and contain the run then the middle will be soft and Andre Roberts and the second year standout TE Jordan Reed will eat defenses alive. I can't wait to see how defenses try to stop this potentially potent and deadly offense. Training camp starts in less then two weeks and we wont know how dynamic this offense will be or how good this team will be but the start of the Jay Gruden Era has been very positive and productive. I believe the Redskins and their franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III are in good hands.

   Redskins Nation stayed tuned for the new players the team has added in 2014 in my next article. Will be coming out soon. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news, info and on other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns also. Thanks again for all your support and love. As always #HTTR.

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